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Europe

Kosovo Premier Rejects Latest UN Compromise Plan

Kosovo has rejected a new United Nations plan aimed at breaking a stalemate over providing security to the newly independent country. Kosovo is worried it would end up dividing the country along ethnic lines.

Soldiers at a checkpoint

Kosovo relies on outside help to maintain order

Shortly after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February, the European Union agreed to send police, customs and judicial experts to Kosovo in an attempt to bring stability to the region. But with Kosovo's independence still being challenged by Serbia, the EU's so-called EULEX mission remains on hold.

The 2,000-member EULEX force was supposed to have fully deployed by early December. It was to take over for the UN, which has governed Kosovo since Serbian forces were ousted by NATO in 1999.

The UN is now trying to broker a compromise that would allow the mission to go forward, but Kosovo has refused to budge, rejecting a plan proposed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and agreed to by Serbia.

"The six point plan, for the institutions of Kosovo and for the people of Kosovo, was, is and will be unacceptable and inapplicable," Thaci told Kosovo's parliament on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Serbia wants UN to remain

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci with flowers

Thaci does not want Kosovo to be divided

Serbia, which has Russian backing on the Kosovo issue, has demanded that EULEX view Kosovo's status as neutral, meaning that its presence is not a recognition of the country's independence.

It also wants the UN to maintain control over northern Kosovo, which is dominated by ethnic Serbs. Police, customs officers and judges in areas with an Albanian majority would work with EULEX, according to the compromise proposal.

Kosovo's population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian. The remaining 120,000 Serbs live in the north of the country. Kosovo Albanian leaders fear that a split chain of command in Eulex would cement the existing ethnic partition of Kosovo.

Kosovo's independence has been recognized by 52 countries, including the United States and most EU states.

"Kosovo's status is solved and this is a closed issue since Feb. 17, when Kosovo became an independent and sovereign country," Thaci told the parliament in Pristina.

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